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Steering committee being assembled to mull windmills

A steering committee that will help to determine the fate of a controversial windmill project for East River Mountain could be finalized as early as today. Meeting under a high wind warning outside, windmills were once again the primary topic of discussion Tuesday for members of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors. ..."This is an emotional issue, and we need to hear from both sides," Anderson said.

TAZEWELL, Va. - A steering committee that will help to determine the fate of a controversial windmill project for East River Mountain could be finalized as early as today.

Meeting under a high wind warning outside, windmills were once again the primary topic of discussion Tuesday for members of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

David Anderson, chairman of supervisors, asked for two board members, and two planning commission members, to serve on the steering committee. Anderson also proposed including "seven to 10" additional members to the steering committee, including residents of Bluefield and Burkes Garden, property owners, members of the Mountain Preservation Association and representatives of Dominion Energy.

"This is an emotional issue, and we need to hear from both sides," Anderson said.

Bill Wimmer, the board's vice chairman, said the steering committee could be modeled after an earlier steering committee that helped to resolve a community debate over a methadone clinic in the county's Western District.

"I think we need to get as many stakeholders as possible in this thing," Southern District board member Mike Hymes said.

Seth White, the board's Northwestern District... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

TAZEWELL, Va. - A steering committee that will help to determine the fate of a controversial windmill project for East River Mountain could be finalized as early as today.

Meeting under a high wind warning outside, windmills were once again the primary topic of discussion Tuesday for members of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

David Anderson, chairman of supervisors, asked for two board members, and two planning commission members, to serve on the steering committee. Anderson also proposed including "seven to 10" additional members to the steering committee, including residents of Bluefield and Burkes Garden, property owners, members of the Mountain Preservation Association and representatives of Dominion Energy.

"This is an emotional issue, and we need to hear from both sides," Anderson said.

Bill Wimmer, the board's vice chairman, said the steering committee could be modeled after an earlier steering committee that helped to resolve a community debate over a methadone clinic in the county's Western District.

"I think we need to get as many stakeholders as possible in this thing," Southern District board member Mike Hymes said.

Seth White, the board's Northwestern District representative, said someone from the Richlands area also should be included on the steering committee. While the Richlands area is not currently included in the windmill proposal, White said the Richlands area should still have representation on the steering committee.

The steering committee will consider a proposed ridgeline protection ordinance. The ordinance - if adopted by the Board of Supervisors - could regulate and restrict the development of tall structures along certain protected mountain ridges, including East River Mountain and Burke's Garden.

Anderson said the recommendations of the supervisors will be presented to the planning commission today. Anderson said the steering committee could be finalized at today's planning commission meeting.

Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America have proposed the development of as many as 60, 400-foot tall windmills in Tazewell County.

Prior to the start of Tuesday's meeting, two board members told the Daily Telegraph that a decision on the windmill issue will take time.

"I don't think we are ready (to make a decision)," White said.

White said most of the citizens he is hearing from in the Richlands area are in support of the windmill project. However, White said he has received calls from citizens in other areas, including the Falls Mills community, who are opposed to the windmills.

Hymes said his opinion of the windmill project hasn't changed. Hymes previously expressed support for alternative energy sources that may help to lower energy prices. Hymes also believes any energy produced from windmills must be treated similarly to gas, oil and coal and taxed.

However, Hymes said Tuesday there are historic areas in the county - like Burke's Garden - that need to be protected.

Hymes said he too doesn't expect a quick decision on the windmill issue.

"We've got lots of data to look at," Hymes said. "In my opinion, this isn't a crisis yet."

In other action, the board also interviewed several candidates Tuesday for the vacated Northern District seat during a closed-door executive session. At least seven candidates were expected to be interviewed by the board. However, only three candidates had been interviewed as of late Tuesday evening.


Source: http://www.bdtonline.com/lo...

FEB 12 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19042-steering-committee-being-assembled-to-mull-windmills
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